Test Drive: Lamborghini Aventador SVJ
Getting out of a Lamborghini Aventador and declaring that it’s nice, but it could do with more power is as profoundly absurd as meeting Ryan Gosling and deciding that he could be a bit more handsome. Or standing atop the Burj Khalifa and suggesting it should be taller.
The fact is, more people get out of any drive in an Aventador – perhaps the last naturally aspirated V12 (meaning no turbochargers and no tricky new electric-boosting technology) supercar the world will ever see – either looking slightly sick or giggling uncontrollably. Or both.
Being Italian, however, the people who run Lamborghini always think things could, and should, be even faster. Which is why they’ve taken an already insanely rapid and hairy-handed machine and somehow shoved more grunting machismo into it, to create the new Aventador SVJ.
Basically a farewell party on wheels (after many, many variants since its launch in 2011, this really is the last version of the Aventador to roll out the doors of the factory in Sant Agata Bolognese). As you would expect, this final, farewell-touring version is the fastest Lamborghini of all time, but, impressively, it is, by one vital measure at least, the fastest road-going hyper-car money can currently buy.
The SVJ, or Superveloce Jota to give it its full and impressive sounding title, recently demolished the lap record at Germany’s Nurburgring race track, the place where car companies go to outdo each other with a stop watch and lots of fresh tyres. The time it set around the 20.8km circuit, also known as “The Green Hell”, was just 6:44.97, which is the fastest any production car has ever been. Consider that a few short years ago, any time under seven minutes was greeted with rapture and surprise and you’ll understand just how impressive that is.
So, how fast are we talking? The usual quoted headline figure, its zero to 100km/h time, is quite something, of course, at a screaming 2.8 seconds, but it is the way this thing goes from zero to twice that speed that truly boggles the mind and rearranges your insides. A 0 to 200km/h time of 8.6 seconds is something that has to be experienced to be believed, and it’s an experience that leaves you more than a little frightened.
Even harder to comprehend is the fact that, once you are doing 200km/h, and not even in top gear yet, you can plant your foot and this ultimate Aventador will take off again, chasing down its top speed somewhere north of 350km/h.
The one place that this car shows its ageing tech is in the gearbox department, because ever time you reach for the paddles and engage a new cog, using its old, single-clutch automatic, it feels like you’ve been rammed from behind by a bus. It certainly adds a bit of visceral violence to the whole driving experience.
The Superveloce does benefit from the very latest in Lamborghini’s ALA 2.0 active aerodynamics, however, and they manage to make it a lot easier than Aventadors of old to drive around bends quickly. The original versions felt heavy and likely to kill you, but the SVJ feels sharper, better tied down and blessed with enormous grip.
That grip can easily be overcome if you’re not careful, of course, because trying to apply all of the V12’s 566kW and 720Nm to the tarmac at once is an exercise in foolhardiness. This is a car that needs to be respected, if not a little feared.
Get it right on the track (and the road really is no place to even attempt to stretch this thing), however, and the rewards are enormous. It really does feel like a new benchmark in super-car savagery.
That focus on track prowess means that there’s very little luxury or comfort in the cabin (anything unnecessary, like padding for your seat, has been ditched to save weight and thus gain speed), and that driving the SVJ on public thoroughfares is going to be more painful than satisfying.
You will, however, have more street cred, and road presence, than anything else out there, which is the very least you’d want from a car priced at $949,640.
On the plus side, we can pretty much guarantee you’ll never get out of this thing and say “it’s nice, but I wish it was faster.”
(Lead image: Lamborghini Aventador SVJ / supplied)
Published 22 January, 2019